Happy Monday! As the new college semester approaches, that means we are that much closer to college football! Our very first Textbook Solutions location was founded in College Station, TX – the heart of Aggieland and Fightin’ Texas Aggie football! We love our school here and to show our Aggie pride, we have created a desktop and cell phone wallpaper with the A&M football schedule. The beautiful photograph for this was taken by Rebecca Griffith Photography, and her website can be reached here.
Birthdays are great for celebrating with friends and family or simply just having a beautiful day off where you can relax on your own. It’s the day where you get to be happy for another wonderful year of new experiences and new memories. So why not make the day a little sweeter? There are a couple restaurants you can go to for delicious birthday rewards both, sweet, savory, and everyone’s favorite word – free! So why not treat yourself on your special day at some these familiar places!
Most of the time everyone needs some coffee to start their day, and at Starbucks, you can get a free cup of coffee on your birthday. Simply sign up here and become a member of the Starbucks Rewards program, and you will receive a coupon close to your birthday for a free drink. You can order your regular coffee, a latte, Frappuccino, whatever you’re craving! It’ll give you the boost you need for a day of different activities during your birthday.
Known for their breakfast, you can have a tasty Build Your Own Grand Slam deal at Denny’s on your birthday. All you must do is sign up for their rewards program with a valid email address, and they will send you a coupon to use at any Denny’s. You can have fluffy pancakes, crispy bacon, and eggs made any way you like.
If Denny’s isn’t your favorite, you can also get a stack of sweet pancakes at IHOP because one of the best kind of cakes to get on your special day is pancakes. Once you sign up for their rewards program with an email address, you will get a coupon on your birthday for free Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity® Pancakes. You can get peaches, strawberries, or raspberries on your pancakes topped with some whipped cream!
Moe’s Southwest Grill
After eating a sweet breakfast, you are probably going to want something savory of lunch so why not head on over to Moe’s Southwest Grill. If you download their app or sign up for their rewards with an email address, you can get a coupon for a free burrito. You can build it any way you want with your favorite beans, rice, and choice of protein. Also, once you sign up for the rewards, you will get a free cup of their famous queso, which will go great with your free tortilla chips that come with almost every meal.
Of course, a lot of people like to go to Chipotle when they are in the mood for some southwest food. You’ll be pleased to know that you can get a birthday meal here as well. You can get a free burrito once you sign up for their rewards program through their app or with a valid email address. Get some Pico de Gallo in your burrito for some extra deliciousness!
Maybe you want lots of options for breakfast, lunch, or dinner on your special day. If you sign up for the Golden Corral Good as Gold Club with an email address and your birthday you will receive a coupon to use at any Golden Corral. The coupon will let you have an all-you-can-eat meal at any time of the day. You can even get a little dessert if you still have room for it!
You might want some dinner at Chili’s instead. Once you are finished with your feast of their famous baby back ribs (or anything else from their menu of variety), you can get a free dessert on your birthday. Just sign up for their rewards program and fill out some information!
Ice cream is good and even better when you can have it on your birthday. If you sign up for Dairy Queen’s Birthday club rewards, you can get a coupon for a free Blizzard or Royal Blizzard. The cool thing about this coupon is that depending on when you receive it you can use it 7 days before your birthday, on your actual birthday, or 7 days after your birthday. So, you are free to get some ice cream to celebrate or keep for the next week and get some ice cream later.
Steak ‘n Shake
Maybe you want a dessert you can just grab and go since you have places to be on your birthday. You can get a special birthday milkshake from Steak ‘n Shake if you sign up for the Steak ‘n Shake eClub. They’ll send you a coupon close to your birthday so that you can get your shake of any flavor.
For your birthday you might want something fresh instead of constant sweets. Something that has fruits or vegetables for a healthy alternative to your new year of being a brand new you. You can head over to Smoothie King for a free birthday smoothie! You must download their Smoothie King Healthy Rewards app and fill out some information. It’s nice to be able to take a break with something refreshing like a smoothie.
No matter how you celebrate your birthday, we hope you can enjoy some of these cool rewards. Have a stellar birthday and keep being the awesome person you were born to be!
It’s the end of July…can you believe it?? 2 months have gone by and you feel like you’ve done nothing all summer! There’s still time to book that last minute vacation that will lift your spirits and won’t leave you feeling bummed out. Here are 4 cheap, last minute vacation ideas!
Hiking and Camping
What better way to spend your last weeks of freedom than by enjoying beautiful nature? You can find some amazing sites near the mountains, water, or wooded areas – whatever fits your style! There are so many camping grounds and hiking trails that you can find for incredibly cheap prices for a couple of nights.
Not sure what to bring on a camping trip? REI has a great camping checklist you can use here! Make sure you check out what activities there are to do at your local campgrounds, such as hiking trails, kayaking or canoeing, or even rock climbing. Besides these fun options, you can bring your own entertainment! Outdoor games such as cornhole, frisbee, and other sports are always a hit. Board games and cards are great for some time outside of technology. And don’t forget the s’mores!!
Home Rental Sites
If you want to get out of your own house for a few days, home rental booking sites are always a good option to experience a new place in a cost-effective, welcoming, home environment! There are quite a few companies that offer this service, such as Airbnb and Vrbo. Just figure out where you want to visit, and search Airbnb or Vrbo for great deals in that area.
If you have never used a place like Airbnb or Vrbo before, it is a service where homeowners put their properties up for others to rent for a few days on vacations or trips of any kind. They have wonderful accommodations and provide a cheap alternative to expensive hotels! There are plenty available in most places nowadays and many of them are less than $100 a night! If you have friends that can chip in, you can stay almost anywhere for dirt cheap!
Beach or Lake Trip
There are not many places more beautiful than a beach or lake at sunset. Before heading back to school in August, visiting the water may be the perfect way to escape and have fun. If you live near a beach or lake, it can make for the perfect day trip and hardly cost anything! If you don’t live close to a body of water, grab some friends and make a road trip weekend out of it.
Some exciting things to do out on the water include kayaking, canoeing, riding jet skis, or attempting to surf – if you’re brave enough! Most beach and lake locations have rental spots where you can rent various equipment for a couple of hours. Bring a volleyball and have some games in the sand, and a cooler for your drinks and snacks. You’re all set!
Theme parks may not be the most relaxing getaway, but they sure are exciting! A theme park doesn’t have to be a huge tourist spot like Disney World – see if there are local water parks, go-kart racing, or other attractions in your area! A theme park, whether large or small, will have tons of activities for you and your friends and family to participate in.
Whatever you decide to do, have fun and go soak up your last few weeks of summer!
Dating in college can be a hit or miss for most and the second it gets down to deciding on an actual plan, a plethora of stresses have arisen. Where do we go? What do we do? What is expected of me? Is it expensive? That last question probably should have been first considering money is a daily concern for many students.
Luckily, there are options to pursuing inexpensive dates that won’t break the bank. Don’t go breaking piggy banks until giving one of these five choices a chance!
Keeping it old school
Maybe it’s not that old school – but grabbing some ice cream and taking a walk with a partner can be more fun than it seems, for more than just one reason. Imagine being able to enjoy a sugary treat while engaging in – hopefully intriguing – conversation and getting those daily steps in! Sometimes, keeping it old school is keeping it fun.
Simple & easy
The joys of a picnic can often be limited to the season and location of residence. Depending on where you live, just pick the months with bearable weather and the date is half ready to go! All that’s left to do is pack some snacks and sandwiches, grab a blanket, and pick a lovely spot.
Let’s be honest here. Some days contain more energy than others. On this kind of night it could be equally fun to just stay in with some take out – or cook if one is up to the challenge – and watch a movie, though binging a show is just as fun (no discriminating here). This could provide a fun opportunity to talk about the crazy events that took place in the cinematic adventure experienced together.
A Budgeted outing
This one might entail some extra cash but a trip to the beach or a nearby lake is a day of relaxation and extravagation. (Okay, I made that word up. It’s kind of like extravagant. I digress.) Find a cooler and fill it with snacks before heading out and it’s got huge potential to be a beautiful memory. Sitting in the sun with no worries is a start to a delicious recipe. From this point on there are endless combinations of how this splendidly filled afternoon could be spent!
grub & hub
Just spending time with a person can be an amazing time. Add on board games or a mutual experience and a thirty minute conversation can turn into an entire afternoon of enjoying someone else’s company. Multiply that by coffee and it’s a beautifully crafted date of sophistication and fun. Don’t knock it before trying it!
The beauty within all of these plausible ideas is the commonality between them. One word, four syllables, makes my heart skip a beat: affordable. Give them a chance before writing them off as boring and the regrets will dissipate faster than your bank account has time to cry.
Summer is kicking off and we have some great books on our summer reading list! We have compiled a variety of best-sellers for 2019 that are sure to appeal to all kinds of readers. These are 15 highly rated books that range from thriller novels, love stories, and historical dramas that will captivate you this summer!
American Spy, by Lauren Wilkinson
It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant, but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club. Her career has stalled out, she’s overlooked for every high-profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic revolutionary president of Burkina Faso whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes. Yes, even though she secretly admires the work Sankara is doing for his country. Yes, even though she is still grieving the mysterious death of her sister, whose example led Marie to this career path in the first place. Yes, even though a furious part of her suspects she’s being offered the job because of her appearance and not her talent.
In the year that follows, Marie will observe Sankara, seduce him, and ultimately have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, a sister, and a good American.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James
Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.
As Tracker follows the boy’s scent–from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers–he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?
Gingerbread, by Helen Oyeyemi
Perdita Lee may appear to be your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor walk-up apartment with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there’s the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it’s very popular in Druhástrana, the far-away (or, according to many sources, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee’s early youth. The world’s truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread, however, is Harriet’s charismatic childhood friend Gretel Kercheval —a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met.
Decades later, when teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother’s long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet’s story. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value.
Golden Child, by Claire Adam
Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life.
Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, 13 years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness.
When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn’t come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already and who he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters – leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.
Inheritance, by Dani Shapiro
What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?
In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history – the life she had lived – crumbled beneath her.
Inheritance is an audiobook about secrets – secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than 50 years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is an audiobook about the extraordinary moment we live in – a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics, but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.
My Lovely Wife, by Samantha Downing
We look like a normal couple. We’re your neighbors, the parents of your kid’s friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with.
We all have our secrets to keeping a marriage alive.
Ours just happens to be getting away with murder.
On the Come Up, by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill.
But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral…for all the wrong reasons.
Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn’t just want to make it—she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.
Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.
As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.
The Age of Light, by Whitney Scharer
A captivating debut novel by Whitney Scharer, The Age of Light tells the true story of Vogue model turned renowned photographer Lee Miller, and her search to forge a new identity as an artist after a life spent as a muse. “I’d rather take a photograph than be one,” she declares after she arrives in Paris in 1929, where she soon catches the eye of the famous Surrealist Man Ray. Though he wants to use her only as a model, Lee convinces him to take her on as his assistant and teach her everything he knows. As they work together in the darkroom, their personal and professional lives become intimately entwined, changing the course of Lee’s life forever.
Lee’s journey of self-discovery takes took her from the cabarets of bohemian Paris to the battlefields of war-torn Europe during WWII, from inventing radical new photography techniques to documenting the liberation of the concentration camps as one of the first female war correspondents. Through it all, Lee must grapple with the question of whether it’s possible to stay true to herself while also fulfilling her artistic ambition–and what she will have to sacrifice to do so.
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls, by Anissa Gray
The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.
Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband, Proctor, are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.
As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.
The Dreamers, by Karen Thompson Walker
One night in an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a first-year student stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. When a second girl falls asleep, and then a third, Mei finds herself thrust together with an eccentric classmate as panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. A young couple tries to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. Two sisters turn to each other for comfort as their survivalist father prepares for disaster.
Those affected by the illness, doctors discover, are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, higher than has ever been recorded before. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?
The Night Tiger, by Yangsze Choo
Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s Mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin plunges into a dark adventure: a mirror world of secrets and superstitions.
Eleven-year-old houseboy Ren is also on a mission, racing to fulfill his former master’s dying wish: that Ren find the man’s finger, lost years ago in an accident, and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master’s soul will wander the earth forever.
As the days tick relentlessly by, a series of unexplained deaths racks the district, along with whispers of men who turn into tigers. Ji Lin and Ren’s increasingly dangerous paths crisscross through lush plantations, hospital storage rooms, and ghostly dreamscapes.
The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides
Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought. And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?
The Weight of a Piano, by Chris Cander
In 1962, in the Soviet Union, eight-year-old Katya is bequeathed what will become the love of her life: a Blüthner piano, built at the turn of the century in Germany, on which she discovers everything that she herself can do with music and what music, in turn, does for her. Yet after marrying, she emigrates with her young family from Russia to America, at her husband’s frantic insistence, and her piano is lost in the shuffle.
In 2012, in Bakersfield, California, 26-year-old Clara Lundy loses another boyfriend and again has to find a new apartment, which is complicated by the gift her father had given her for her 12th birthday, shortly before he and her mother died in a fire that burned their house down: a Blüthner upright she has never learned to play. Orphaned, she was raised by her aunt and uncle, who in his car-repair shop trained her to become a first-rate mechanic, much to the surprise of her subsequent customers. But this work, her true mainstay in a scattered life, is put on hold when her hand gets broken while the piano’s being moved – and in sudden frustration she chooses to sell it. And what becomes crucial is who the most interested party turns out to be…
When You Read This, by Mary Adkins
For four years, Iris Massey worked side by side with PR maven Smith Simonyi, helping clients perfect their brands. But Iris has died, taken by terminal illness at only thirty-three. Adrift without his friend and colleague, Smith is surprised to discover that in her last six months, Iris created a blog filled with sharp and often funny musings on the end of a life not quite fulfilled. She also made one final request: for Smith to get her posts published as a book. With the help of his charmingly eager, if overbearingly forthright, new intern Carl, Smith tackles the task of fulfilling Iris’s last wish.
Before he can do so, though, he must get the approval of Iris’ big sister Jade, an haute cuisine chef who’s been knocked sideways by her loss. Each carrying their own baggage, Smith and Jade end up on a collision course with their own unresolved pasts and with each other.
Told in a series of e-mails, blog posts, online therapy submissions, text messages, legal correspondence, home-rental bookings, and other snippets of our virtual lives, When You Read This is a deft, captivating romantic comedy—funny, tragic, surprising, and bittersweet—that candidly reveals how we find new beginnings after loss.